In this section we shall focus on the steps required to install a device driver on Windows XP. As most drivers are installed in much the same way the process documented below is the same regardless of whatever type of device you've installed, whether it may be a wireless network card, a tv tuner card, a video card or any device that requires a driver be installed. If your wireless adaptor connects via a USB port or is a PC Card it is best to turn the computer on and wait for it to be ready before plugging the device in. If the wireless adaptor is a PCI card then the computer must be switched off, the PCI card installed and then the machine switched back on again.
Once the computer has started successfully insert the CD, DVD or floppy disk that contains the driver for your wireless adaptor into the appropriate drive. When the computer first detects the new wireless adaptor it will open the "Found New Hardware Wizard". The first question that this wizard asks "Can Windows connect to windows update to search for software". Selecting either yes option can be a safe choice and if the computer is unable to locate a driver via the windows update catalog it will prompt you to let it search its hard drive or removable media. As we have a usable driver on CD we are going to select "Not at this time" and click next.
The next dialogue box will ask if you wish to install the software automaticaly or install from a list or specific location. The first choice, "Install the software automatically" is a safe choice and will most likely work 95% of the time. The machine will search its removable media (CD, DVD floppy disk etc) and certain locations on its hard drive for a usable driver. The drivers disk must of course be in the machine for the computer to find the driver and if it is found the computer will go ahead and install it. If it is unsuccessfull the machine will prompt for the location of the driver, which is precisely the same as the second option "install from a list or specific location". This is the option we shall choose in this example (but dont be afraid to trying installing the software automatically!) and then click next.
The options on this next dialogue box are "Search for the best driver in these locations" or "Dont search, I will choose the driver to install". We will concentrate more on the first choice here as the second choice is not recommended for new players, it produces a list of all drivers for all device types available to the machine and permits the user to install a particular driver regardless of compatibility. This should only be used as a last resort as generally if windows will not install the driver it is because the driver is not compatible with the device or the version of windows being used. We shall select, by clicking on its box, "Include this location in the search" and type the path to the location of the driver. Using the browse button can make finding the driver in your file system much easier. Putting a tick next to "search removable media" may be helpfull too. Click Next to continue onto the next screen.
The computer should have located the driver by this point and commenced installing it. As previously stated allowing XP to search for the driver works 95% of the time however if you have manually specified the location of the driver as in the previous step and it still will not install then make sure you have specified the location of the driver correctly. If you still have no success consult the manual for any advice with driver installation. If the driver still is not found you might consider contacting your hardware vendor or the device manufacturers website or support for advice. Generally if a driver is not installed automatically it is because it is not found or is not compatible with the device or with the version of windows being used.
Once the computer has finished installing the driver simply click finish on the dialogue box and it is done. You should now be able to configure and use your wireless adaptor.